How did you become an artist? What is your story?  

As a child, I drew all the time – especially horses. My family and teachers were highly supportive of my passion. After high school, I attended SUNY New Paltz where I majored in Art Education.

In the 80’s, I took a compliance job on Wall Street (it was WILD then!) while I began to pursue my daunting dream of being an established artist in Manhattan. At the same time and without me knowing, my sister Mary put my work in front of a gallery owner in Woods Hole, Cape Cod, MA. This led to my first professional exhibit and solidified my lifelong dreams.

Since then, my work has found its way into private collections around the world, I have proudly exhibited my work at top galleries in the North East, and have taught students at private and public institutions across Long Island.

Artist Spotlight: Joanne Pierce

Is creating art your day job?  If not, what else do you do? 

Yes, creating my own art, doing commissions, and teaching art is what I do daily. For many years while raising my family, I taught art in public and private institutions, was a substitute teacher, and worked various part time jobs in childcare to support my art.

Do you have any artists that have really inspired your work?

I am greatly inspired by the Old Masters, Dutch landscape paintings, and William Merrit Chase’s paintings of Shinnecock Hills and the Hamptons.

Artist Spotlight: Joanne Pierce

What is your favorite medium to work with and why?

My favorite mediums are water soluble oil paints, colored pencils, and clay. I love the fluidity and open working time of paint, the convenience and precision of colored pencil, and the tactile pleasure of clay.

How did the horse become one of your primary subjects?

Going back to early childhood, I cannot remember a time I did not draw horses. You could say I have always been “drawn” to them!

Artist Spotlight: Joanne Pierce

How do you get inspired?  What is your creative process for deciding on subject matter/scenes?

Nature. Inspiration takes over while walking on the beach, a farm or in the woods. I also like to take a long drive in the country.

I decide to create a scene and subject matter if it moves me in some way. You must love your subject to enjoy the working process and accomplish a sincere, original result.

Artist Spotlight: Joanne Pierce

What is your history with horses? Tell me a little bit about the most important horses in your life.

As a child, my friend Lisa had horses on her property and she gave me lessons for $1.00 an hour. We took long trail rides through Sands Point, NY.  My friend Gary and I would go on trail rides at Heckscher State Park, thanks to our wonderful parents who did not mind the long drives!

I returned to the horse world many years later when my son Tom was 7 and expressed an interest in riding!  At 40, I gave myself lessons and became a very serious student.

I am still very fond of my many lesson horses, especially Arlo and Henry. Markie, was an Irish draft cross I leased, and Jersey (Wildest Dreams) an off-the-track-thoroughbred who became a Hunter Jumper competitor. Jersey was kicked out of almost every barn on Long Island but he liked me. He would pin his ears back and I would say, “Oh yes, you are so mean.” You could see the smile in his eyes.

Artist Spotlight: Joanne Pierce

Tell us more about your Pierce the HeArt Lessons.  How did you get inspired to start this online teaching program?

Pierce the HeArt Lessons is a free online art class series that Tom and I created. I teach beginner to advanced drawing and painting to individuals and groups.

At a time where I was considering opening a brick and mortar art school, Tom suggested teaching online. I was daunted at first but then became thrilled at the amount of people we could reach all over the world. In 2019, we set out to provide an educational experience that alleviated the angst of modern society and addressed the cuts in public arts funding and rise in art education costs.

Artist Spotlight: Joanne Pierce

We funded our pilot series – How to Draw a Horse Head & Neck – with a successful Kickstarter campaign and it debuted at the end of 2019. THEN CAME 2020!

Empathically in response to the multitude of collateral damage from COVID-19 we all were experiencing, I decided to give the world as many FREE Lessons as possible. With the help of our incredible media team, I quickly learned what “going live” means. Every Wednesday night from Spring through Fall 2020, we curated free beginner drawing Lessons from my home studio live on Instagram.

I call it Pierce the HeArt Lessons as a play on my last name, and most importantly, because of my philosophy that the art subject you choose to create must pierce your heart.

Artist Spotlight: Joanne Pierce

What is your favorite part about being an artist? Any part you don’t enjoy quite as much?

My favorite part of being an artist is my connection with nature and animals, especially the horse. I also find great joy in helping others to discover and rediscover their innate creative abilities.

Like many artists, I do not like the art of selling my work. Happily, my son enjoys managing that for me. I am very grateful.

Artist Spotlight: Joanne Pierce

What’s next for you?

Next for me is to continue the development of StreamHorseTV, which my son and I recently acquired. Along with molding StreamHorseTV into the premier digital community for horse enthusiasts of all walks of life, we will be producing further episodes of Pierce the HeArt Lessons for our subscribers. Aside from those exciting ventures and my private lessons, I continue to paint and draw the horses and landscapes that pierce my heart.

 

Follow Joanne!

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Artist Spotlight: Joanne Pierce              Artist Spotlight: Joanne Pierce